While it might seem like we at theAUreview are covering a fair share of Mum events of late, such simply reflects the talent being showcased here on a weekly basis. As much as we reviewers love live music, it’s a fair effort to convince us to attend a gig on a Friday night, especially if the quality is at all in doubt. And tonight was indeed a hard sell, having never seen any of these bands, and having to rush up from the MCA following Songs of Sydney. But the two headlining bands here, The Go Roll Your Bones and Brown Bear, Black Bear have created such a buzz that I couldn’t help but make the effort.

Indeed, I arrived a bit late to the event, so I only caught the end of Red Light Nation, the second act of the night. Like many of the “opening” bands at these nights, RLN were a young band, still trying to find their sound and their place within the Sydney live scene. In their last track, which became a bit of a jam session, they perhaps showed off the direction they are most comfortable with – simply because they were doing exactly what they wanted to do, and it totally worked. Keep it up guys. You’ve got a long way to go yet, but you’re totally capable of putting on an absolutely kick arse set.

Featuring ex-members of Bird Automatic, Brown Bear, Black Bear, are no strangers to the stages of Sydney, despite being one of the newest bands on them. And I’ve got to say – although their styles were often varied (along with the comparisons that can be made), they have already found their sound, felt out their style, and in a mere couple of months are already giving Bird Automatic a run for their money. And I am certainly a fan of the latter, so it’s quite a feat on a personal level.

One of the most notable moments in the gig was when I turned to my mate and said “hey, this song totally sounds like a Foals track!”. Initially, naturally, I meant this as a negative – e.g. they were just ripping off the sounds of a popular band to become popular themselves. But then I realised they were actually doing a better job of it than their English counterparts. Wow. And this wasn’t a fluke… every sound produced that arguably sounded familiar, had been appropriated and improved ten fold. And all the meanwhile, it heaps made you want to party!

Expect big things. And given the fact that the room was the most packed I’ve ever seen it (someone was even crowd surfing at one point…) it seems that others are expecting big things too. Although they don’t seem to agree, asking us all to stick around for Go roll…, claiming the latter were much much better than themselves.

Last up, hitting the stage well after the time they were supposed to start (a word to the wise: nothing ever runs on time at Mum… but that’s how we like it), were The Go Roll Your Bones. After recovering from the pure shock of Brown Bear’s brilliance, it was easy to say I’d be a hard sell for the next performance. But they proved themselves to be the highly competent performers and musicians that “buzz” had made them out to be.

Slipping with ease between songs that sounded like TISM were playing Rolling Stones, with a bit of Brian Jonestown Massacre meets the Stooges at other times, there was definitely a lot to like. But I’m not sure how it’ll translate on a recording. The quality of performance they put into their gigs would simply be lost on disc. And when you’ve got a closing number that runs on for a ridiculously long time, having members from the other bands (as well as mates Warhorse) join them on stage for some catchy-riff-action, it’s hard to wonder why you’d want to do anything BUT watch them live anyway.

Sydney’s music scene continues to surprise me. But it doesn’t always need to innovative, as Brown Bear, Black Bear showed tonight. If you are talented and can simply make good music, it doesn’t matter what comparisons are drawn, it’ll be eaten up like nothing else. Do I even NEED to mention Wolfmother in the same breath? Perhaps it’s what Sydney does best.

And with that, I think I’m opening up a whole new debate that we’ll leave for another time.

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.